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We may understand, therefore, the real purport of ancient religions when we understand that their heroes also typify the human soul, and that their adventures typify the experiences of that soul in its quest of the heavenly kingdom.
Osiris thus becomes a figure of the divine element in man, and a symbolic history of that element—its descent into material worlds and its re-ascent towards spiritual consciousness.
His fabled dismemberment into fourteen or forty-two pieces symbolized the present spiritual dismemberment of the human being into a creature whose one-time harmony has been broken up. His reason has been wrenched apart from his feelings, his flesh from his spirit, and confusion and cross-purposes pull him hither and thither. So, too, the story of Isis collecting the fragments of the body of Osiris and restoring them to life, symbolized the restoration—in the Mysteries then, and by evolution later—of man's warring nature to perfect harmony: such harmony as where spirit and body work with one accord, and reason parallels the direction of feeling. It was the return to primal unity.
The highest doctrine of the Egyptians, that which was the theoretical basis of the loftiest degrees of initiation, was that the soul of man must eventually return to the divine Being from which it was first rayed out, and they termed this return "becoming Osiris." They held man even here on earth to be potentially an Osiris. In their secret manual of initiation^ the Book of tbt Dead, the released soul of the candidate is directed to protect itself, in its long and dangerous travels through the underworld, not only by the use of amulets, but by boldly proclaiming, "I am Osiris."
"O blind soul I Arm thyself with the torch of the Mysteries and in the earthly night, thou shalt discover thy luminous Double, thy celestial Self. Follow this divine guide and he will be thy Genius. For he holds the key to thy existence, past and future," says the same sacred Scripture.
Initiation, therefore, was to enter into a new vision of life, a spiritual vision which the human race lost in the far past when it fell from "paradise" into matter. The Mysteries were a means of interior re-ascent, leading grade by grade to a perfect state of illumination. They unveiled* at first, those